Personal Victories

I was reviewing my blog notes for inspiration, and came across some things that I had written up for the Singer’s Journey course I took in 2021. I’ve drawn from these before, most recently in What’s on Your Life Playlist?, in which I looked at music that influenced my life.

Today I want to talk about a couple of the personal victories I’ve had in my life (so far) that completely changed the direction of my life.

  1. When I moved to DC the first time, my ex-husband talked me up to people he worked with as being this great opera singer. I had done a few operas but my vocal technique was in terrible shape. I had studied with a teacher in Wisconsin who wasn’t the right fit for me and I was just not singing well. Well, someone he spoke to knew someone at Washington Opera and they called ME to invite me to do an audition. I didn’t know what to do! Do I turn it down? Maybe I’m not as bad as I think? I had a lesson set up the day before my audition with a new teacher (Marianna Busching) but I really only had one aria that was even semi-passable.Well, I was as bad as I thought. I got through to the end and Martin Feinstein (the then-artistic director) got up and left. Ed Purrington (the managing director) spoke to me and said, “There’s a voice in there, but you need a good teacher.” I told him that I’d just started working with someone (again, literally the day before the audition), and he said she was a good choice and he looked forward to hearing me again.

    A year later, I auditioned again and got into the chorus of La Forza del Destino. During the initial rehearsals, they held auditions for a chorus bit. I auditioned – not knowing it paid extra, just thought it be fun to do, and figuring I didn’t have a chance – and got it! I wound up singing with them for 7 seasons, doing the big shows, the smaller ones that were a little more musically demanding, chorus bits, solo bits, and finally a supporting role in the world premiere of Dream of Valentino. (And now I’m singing with them again!)

  2. After moving back to MKE (and thinking all that DC/Baltimore work and the Peabody MM (also the result of studying with Marianna in the first place) would result in my being Mezzo Queen of the Midwest), I found myself doing a fraction of the work I’d done in the preceding nine years out east. I was supposed to do Augusta in a production of The Ballad of Baby Doe and the performance fell through. [That’s another story – it was actually much more convoluted than just that.] On the day I found out about it falling through, I realized it was the deadline for the NATS Intern Program. I quickly pulled together materials and sent them off just in time to make the deadline. Again, I didn’t think I had a chance – they only chose 12 people, and I was a private teacher, and most of the people they chose at that time were college-affiliated. About 2 weeks later, I received a letter inviting me to participate. It was the best thing I ever did at that point. I had the chance to learn from great teachers and to prove to myself that I was good at this!!

What are the personal victories that you’ve had that have changed your life’s trajectory? How did they come about? Did you seek them out or were you in the right place at the right time? Tell me about them in the comments!

I’ll be dropping my summer offerings next weekend before I leave for vacation. If there’s something you’re interested in learning about, contact me and I’ll be in touch.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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